The Missouri Legislature has passed its sixth bill of the session – one to defund Planned Parenthood.

On a party-line vote, the House passed the bill today, after the far-right leaning Freedom Caucus threatened to block passage of any other bills until the governor signs this one into law.

Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Manchester, said 30,000 women go to a Missouri Planned Parenthood for their healthcare needs.

“Denying essential healthcare is cruel,” said Lavender. “And the idea that the legislative process is bending to the demands of the chaos caucus intent on burning Missouri government down as you continue your vindictive assault on women’s rights is shameful.”

Since Missouri does not allow most abortions, Rep. Brian Seitz, R-Branson, questioned if Missouri’s Planned Parenthood clinics are sending state Medicaid funding to other states to carry out abortions.

Abortions are already illegal in Missouri, except for in medical emergencies, and the state’s Medicaid program does not reimburse for those abortions.

Representative Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City, questioned the state’s budget priorities.

“Where do these folks go,” she asked. “Men and women, where do they go? We have rural hospitals closing across our state. You know what we did put money towards, crisis pregnancy centers that do not offer health care, hundreds of thousands of dollars to them. But we want to defund the clinics that are screening for STIs, that are screening for cancer.”

Rep. Justin Sparks, R-Wildwood, backed the bill.

“We are speaking about the absolute termination and destruction of an individual human life. That life that is growing inside is human,” he said. “And it is unique by its very DNA, which will never be repeated again.”

Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee’s Summit, had an exchange with the bill sponsor, Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage.

“How many abortions occurred in the state of Missouri in the last year,” asked Ingle. “Zero that I’m aware of,” said Smith. “Okay. Planned Parenthood, or whoever you guys think is the evil health care facility that is providing these abortions, is not currently doing that. What they are doing is providing screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer. They’re providing birth control,” said Ingle.

The bill goes to Gov. Mike Parson for a decision. If the governor signs the bill into law, it will likely go to the Missouri Supreme Court, which has already rejected similar attempts to defund Planned Parenthood.

For more information on House Bill 2634, click here.

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